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Melvin A. Cook

Melvin Alonzo Cook was a noted American chemist, born in Swan Creek, Utah on October 10, 1911 and died in 2000. He was most known from his work in the research and development of explosives, including the development of shaped charges and slurry explosives. He received a Master of Arts from the University of Utah (1934) and a Ph.D in Physical Chemistry from Yale University (1937), and among other industrial posts founded and served as President of IRECO Chemicals (later acquired by DynoNobel). He also served in higher education as a Professor of Metallurgy and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah. Cook was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Additional recommended knowledge



Melvin A. Cook's 50+ year career in both the theoretical and practical aspects of the field of explosives spans saw some remarkable achievements. In December of 1956 he created a new blasting agent using a mixture of ammonium nitrate, aluminum powder, and water: a most unusual mixture. This explosive, the first of the so-called "slurry explosives," was remarkably safe and paved the way for the development of the BLU-82, nicknamed the "Daisy Cutter" (because of its use in Viet-Nam to clear helicopter landing zones), one of the largest and most powerful conventional bombs in the U.S. military inventory, using aluminized slurry.

Awards and Recognitions

For his work in discovering slurry explosives, Cook received a Nitro Nobel Gold Medal in 1968, only the second time the award had been given (and which has been awarded only once since). This award has sometimes been confused with the Nobel Prize conferred by the Nobel Foundation, but although it is given by the successor explosives company founded by Alfred Nobel, Nitro-Nobel AB (now a part of DynoNobel), it is not of the same stature or importance as the Nobel Prize. Although it has been claimed that Cook was at one time a Nobel Prize nominee, he was never nominated.


Dr. Cook was an ardent creationist, and his writings on the subject are frequently quoted or cited by creationists. Cook was a "young earth" creationist, and in some of his work in this area of creation theory he provided plausible-sounding arguments in favor of a 6,000 year-old planet. One argument for a "young earth," which he wrote about in his book, Science and Mormonism, attempted to show that the atmosphere had allegedly not yet reached an equilibrium state with respect to carbon-14 creation/decay, and postulated that the atmosphere of earth was in fact not older than 6,000 years.

Selected Bibliography


  • Prehistory and Earth Models (1966)
  • Science and Mormonism (1968), with his son, M. Garfield Cook.


  • "Plasma and Universal Gravitation" — From Appendix III, The Science of High Explosives — American Chemical Society Monograph Series No. 139 (1958)

Other Frequently Cited Writings

  • "What Happened to the Earth’s Helium?" — New Scientist, Vol. 24, 3 December 1964, pp. 631–632
  • "Where is the Earth’s Radiogenic Helium?" — Nature, Vol. 179, 26 January 1957, p. 213 doi:10.1038/179213a0

External Sources

  • Article on the BLU-82 at [1]
  • Famous Utahns [2]
  • Melvin Cook biographical article on the Creation Wiki [3]
  • Notation on The Melvin Cook Papers (1802-1989) at the University of Utah [4]
  • TalkOrigins Archive article on a Melvin Cook claim [5]
  • Who's Who in Creation/Evolution at [6]
  • History of DynoNobel [7]
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Melvin_A._Cook". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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